Former Louisville sergeant Brett Hankison was charged with wanton endangerment after the death of Breonna Taylor. Here’s what else you should know about Hankison, the only officer charged.
Brett Hankison, one of three Louisville police officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment on September 23. Judge Annie O’Connell announced the charges against the former sergeant, who was fired in June, in front of a grand jury. Hankison was accused of firing blindly into apartments and endangering Taylor’s neighbors, but not for killing Taylor on March 13. A warrant has been issued for his arrest, and his cash bail will be set at $15,000. Here’s what you should know about the disgraced Louisville sergeant:
1. He was fired in June by his “shocked” police chief. The Louisville Metro Police Department posted Hankison’s termination letter on Twitter after his firing in June. In the letter, Chief Robert Schroeder accused Hankison of violating department policy against deadly force by “wantonly and blindly” firing 10 shots the night that Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was fatally shot during a no-knock raid as she slept in her bed. Schroeder called Hankison’s conduct “a shock to the conscience.”
2. The other police officers involved in the shooting weren’t charged. Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly, the two other officers who burst into Taylor’s apartment while she was sleeping and fired multiple shots at the EMT and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were not charged with any crimes. Taylor’s family had called for nothing less than manslaughter charges for all three men.
3. He was once suspended for “dereliction of duty.” Hankison joined the Lexington Police Department in 1999 and resigned in 2002. While his file no longer contained any potential complaints, the Lexington Herald-Leader confirmed that he had been suspended in 2002 for 20 unpaid hours for “dereliction of duty.” That, according to USLegal, is when an officer “has willfully refused to perform his duties or has incapacitated himself in such a way that he cannot perform his duties.” It’s unclear what Hankison did.
4. His former supervisor once argued against hiring him. After Hankison resigned from the Lexington PD in 2002, he attempted to rejoin the department. He was blocked, however, by his supervising sergeant at the time, according to the Herald-Ledger. “Based on my observations and supervision of this officer for the past calendar year, I would not recommend him for reemployment at any time in the future,” Patrick McBride wrote in a memo. “Due to his actions in violation of standing orders, refusal to accept supervision, and general poor attitude toward the Division of Police and its commanding staff, I would in fact be strongly against the same.”
5. The City of Louisville has called a state of emergency due to the grand jury outcome. After months of national outrage following Taylor’s death, the Mayor of Louisville, Greg Fischer, issued state of emergency the day before the verdict due to “potential for civil unrest.” Federal buildings were closed due to the order. One week ago, Fischer announced the city would pay Taylor’s family $12 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit, and institute a series of police reform.